Richmond Times Dispatch, "Legacy" Project a Loving Homage to "Rumours"

The Richmond Times Dispatch, April 2, 1998


Melissa Ruggieri

Twenty years ago, "Rumours" was simply the next step for Fleetwood Mac. Who knew that one day it would be the source of its own tribute?

Long considered not only the band's watershed, but a must-have on any music collector's shelves, "Rumours" has sold more than 17 million copies - and not necessarily because of the publicity surrounding the band's lucrative reunion tour last year.

"Rumours" is a masterpiece. A rare album that boldly weaves wrenching emotion and hypnotic pop. And it still sounds amazing two decades later.

That's why in 1996 - when the notion of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham returning was as likely as a Beatles reunion - Mick Fleetwood huddled with "Rumours" co-producer Richard Dashut over the idea of a Mac tribute album.

At the time, many artists and managers considered Mac cutout bin material, and understandably so. There's a reason we don't remember the Bekka Bramlett/Billy Burnette incarnation of the band.

But any skepticism regarding Fleetwood Mac's current viability dissolved with the band's thundering reunion tour last year. Soon, Mick Fleetwood found himself turning hopeful contributors away.

Now, comes "Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours." The album, produced by Fleetwood, the backbone of Mac, is a loving homage to the original "Rumours." Only the names have been changed. The track listing is the same, and you might even notice a throwback to the days of vinyl when the grooves between songs caused a slight pause.

Artist-wise, Fleetwood stresses that the project intends to showcase upstarts, hence the inclusion of Matchbox 20 ("Never Going Back Again"), Duncan Sheik ("Songbird"), Jewel ("You Make Loving Fun") and Sister Hazel ("Gold Dust Woman").

The affable and loquacious Fleetwood - still a striking figure with his gray ponytail, piercing blue eyes and towering height - recently took some time at a record company office to chat about the making of "Legacy," the background of the project and the future of Fleetwood Mac.

How did the rest of Fleetwood Mac feel about you turning their songs over to other artists to record?

I think initially they were probably a little interested, a little leery and a little worried. I hoped to convince them not to worry, a bit like, hey, I'm in this band, too!

Why "Rumours"?

There is something about that album, by some happenstance and hard work. The style of the band is there, but it's the choice of songs that made up a whole. Some of [the success of the album] is luck, I suppose, but we tortured ourselves. So much was going on during that album, anyway. It's a definite diary of a soap opera mess. But when it comes down to it, all the songs on "Rumours" have a continuity. You can play that album stem to stern. We didn't know it then, but that's exactly what we wanted to do.

How did you choose the artists?

It was a lot more of us seeking people out than them coming to us. Some of the ones who approached us aren't on there because of my taste buds and sensibilities about who already was on it.

How familiar were you with these artists?

I had heard of Matchbox 20, but I think their version of 'Never Going Back Again' has pointed them in a direction. They cared about what they were doing and had a real band continuity that I identified with. Stylistically, they pushed an envelope.

Duncan [Sheik], I had a little awareness about. Jewel, Shawn Colvin, The Cranberries, and of course, Elton [John], I was very aware of . Elton is the elder statesman of the project. I was sort of blown away that he decided to do it. I like to refer to Elton as the founding father of our legacy.

You and [Mac bassist] John McVie were working on Lindsey Buckingham's solo album when the Mac reunion surfaced. What is the status of Lindsey's album?

(Laughing.) That was supposed to come out a year ago. No, make that two years ago. But Lindsey is an alchemist, a perfectionist. Which is great, but the downside is, no one gets to hear his music for five years! I'm going to go back in the studio and finish some drum tracks. John plays bass on it, Chris does some piano.

How about the future of Fleetwood Mac?

The four of us are hoping to persuade Chris to tour Europe this summer, but she's tired and has no desire to continue touring, so we can't argue with that. It might not happen, and if it doesn't, Stevie will probably extend her solo tour. But the desire to tour more is there. We're all freaking out, like "Chris, why now?" But even if we don't go back on the road this summer, I strongly feel that we will convene as a band and make another album.

Thanks to Anusha for posting this to The Ledge and for sending it to us.